Leeds boss Bielsa confirms defensive absentees

Germany centre-half Koch will be sidelined for around three months following a successful knee operation, while Spain international Llorente could be out for up to three weeks, Bielsa said.

Koch, who had surgery on Tuesday, had been playing with a knee injury since arriving from Freiburg in the summer and damaged it further in last week’s defeat at Chelsea.

Bielsa said: “The surgery went well and the length of Koch’s absence depends on the evolution, but he’s likely to be out for around three months.

“It’s a shame to miss him for such a period of time, but during a season this is normal for injuries like this to happen to a team.”

Bielsa said Luke Ayling, Pascal Struijk, Kalvin Phillips and Gaetano Berardi, who is working his way back from a long-term knee injury, would provide sufficient cover in central defence.

“We’re not thinking of the possibility of bringing another centre-back into the team,” Bielsa added. “And apart from that we also expect to count on Berardi from February.”

Midfielders Pablo Hernandez (muscle strain) and Jamie Shackleton (thigh) have recovered from their respective injuries and will be available to face West Ham.

Premier League: Crystal Palace vs Leeds

The two clubs have made identical starts to the season, with three wins, three defeats and a draw each, leaving them in mid table after seven games, but both suffered disappointing defeats last time out.

Palace were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Wolves at Molineux, and midfielder Luka Milivojevic was sent off for a late challenge on Joao Moutinho, meaning he will serve a three-match ban after an unsuccessful appeal. Roy Hodgson was livid with the referee’s decision, and it now means the Eagles squad is stretched even thinner, with their injury troubles still proving problematic.

Centre-back pair Gary Cahill and James Tomkins are both struggling after calf and heel injuries respectively, meaning Cheikhou Kouyate and Scott Dann are likely to continue at the back.

Tyrick Mitchell and Joel Ward are also missing, while new signing Nathan Ferguson and long-serving goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey miss out too.

There’s positive news in the shape of James McCarthy though, as the Irish midfielder could return after a thigh injury. He could form the McCarthy/McArthur midfield pair, as the Scotland international is expected to deputise for Milivojevic.

Jordan Ayew and Jack Butland are available again after positive coronavirus tests and should be involved.

Leeds have been hit by the virus as well, with record signing Rodrigo ruled out after a positive test. The Spanish international will now isolate under Premier League protocol and miss the trip to the capital.

Kalvin Phillips remains sidelined with a shoulder injury which is expected to keep him out until December, while Gaetano Berardi and Adam Forshaw are also long-term absentees.

New signing Diego Llorente is still to make his debut for the club and will miss out with an injury suffered while on international duty.

Raphinha has been struggling with an ankle injury and a late decision will be made on him, but wholesale changes aren’t expected to the Leeds side that started the 4-1 defeat to Leicester City last weekend.

Top scorer Patrick Bamford will continue up front and hope he can show Gareth Southgate more of what he can do after missing out on the latest England squad, while midfield creators Pablo Hernandez, Jack Harrison and Helder Costa will be tasked with providing the ammunition for the former Chelsea striker.

Crystal Palace take on Leeds United at Selhurst Park on Saturday, November 7th. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Wolves up to sixth after narrow 0-1 victory at Leeds.

The Mexico striker’s tame second-half effort wrong-footed the Leeds United goalkeeper after hitting Kalvin Phillips on the head to seal his side’s third league win of the season.

But in reality, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, who were poor in the first half, were fortunate to leave Elland Road with all three points having been outplayed by Leeds in the first 45mins.

Leeds made a flying start. Patrick Bamford had an early header ruled out for offside and they had a penalty appeal turned down after Helder Costa went down under Joao Moutinho’s challenge.

Rodrigo also headed over and Costa dragged another effort wide after more slick build-up down the right, with Wolves pinned in their own half. Captain Luke Ayling and Rodrigo also squandered good chances in the first half which, had they found the net, could have changed the course of the night of Bielsa’s team.

Wolves woke up in the second half starting the period with a VAR ruled-out goal after the officials deemed Daniel Podence to be in an offside postion. Podence had another chance moments later forcing Meslier into a flying save and suddenly the game looked to be turning in Wolves favour.

It was talismanic striker Raul Jimenez who finally broke the deadlock on the 70th minute after he was allowed far to much time, cutting in from the right and deflecting a shot in off Phillips head which wrong footed Meslier, and the Leeds keeper could only watch the ball hit the opposite corner of his goal.

Pablo Hernandez had a chance to pull it back for Leeds but was denied by a Willy Boly block and even late substitue Raphinha, making his debut in place of Jack Harrison, but failed to carve out a clear opening and Wolves held on.

Leeds United 0 Wolves 1… and up to Sixth.

Premier League Preview: Leeds United v Wolves

Marcelo Bielsa’s side have impressed on their long-awaited return to the big time and he is expected to only make minimum changes.

Pablo Hernandez and Jack Harrison are both back in action and Bielsa could rotate them in and rest Tyler Roberts and Ezgjan Alioski.

Wolves returned to winning ways before the international break and Nuno Santo will follow Bielsa’s example with limited swaps.

Fernando Marcal is back and could replace Matt Kilman at left back with Adama Traore and Joao Moutinho potentially replacing Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto.

And it set to be a late one on Monday night with an 8pm kick off at Elland Road.